No significant progress was achieved on the last day of the Working Group meeting. Lengthy negotiations on various sections, goals, and targets of the draft global biodiversity framework (GBF) did not manage to bridge entrenched positions on several elements of the draft GBF, with observers lamenting failure to reach compromise even on seemingly uncontroversial issues. A non-negotiated, entirely bracketed non-paper on digital sequence information (DSI) was forwarded to the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP). With the opening ceremony of COP 15 to be held on Tuesday, several participants called for a change of gear towards outcome-oriented negotiations, to have a realistic chance of a successful outcome.
Throughout the day, contact groups deliberated on various aspects of the draft GBF. Heated debates took place on, among other issues:
- The choice of text as the basis of negotiations on the goal on conservation, and on targets 2 (ecosystem restoration), 3 (protected areas), 6 (invasive alien species), 7 (pollution), and 8 (climate change);
- The goal on benefit-sharing, including long-standing disagreements regarding benefits from derivatives of genetic resources and the relationship with international access and benefit-sharing (ABS) instruments;
- Target 5 on species exploitation, including references to regulation and traceability, customary sustainable use, and biopiracy;
- Target 1 on spatial planning, including the target’s scope (reference to “all areas” or leaving the scope open) and outcome (“retaining ecosystems” or “bringing loss as close to zero as possible”); and
- Target 9 on sustainable use of wild species, including the promotion of sustainable biodiversity-based products and services.
On DSI, a contact group was presented with a revised non-paper containing elements of a draft COP decision, developed by the co-leads, with the note that it had not been negotiated and is bracketed in its entirety. Following a lengthy discussion, the contact group decided to forward to plenary a conference room paper (CRP), containing a draft recommendation for the COP to take into account the building blocks included in the revised, non-negotiated, bracketed non-paper. Annexed to the recommendation are proposed policy options on benefit-sharing from the use of DSI on genetic resources, including: policy options developed in the third meeting of the Working Group; a proposal for the establishment of a multilateral benefit-sharing mechanism; possible approaches for a hybrid solution and a proposal for such a hybrid solution; and a proposal for how to address DSI on genetic resources in the GBF.
An evening plenary heard reports from the contact group co-leads, reviewed the respective CRPs, and forwarded them to COP 15. Working Group Co-Chairs Basile van Havre (Canada) and Francis Ogwal (Uganda) gavelled the meeting to a close at 11:18 pm.